Friday, April 3, 2015

Children's eBook Review: Sleepy Beach by Scott Harpole

Illustrations: 5.0 Stars
Cover: 5.0 Stars
Storyline: 5.0 Stars
Total: 5.0 Stars

My Review:
On the surface, Sleepy Beach is a simple account of a family playing on a beach. But as you look closely, you see that the illustrations reveal a "giant's" face. Look even closer and you discover that this book is a parent putting their son to sleep by stroking his head and face to follow the tale.

Storyline: So clever! I've never read anything like it. I love the multi-layered story, and can see this becoming a nightly tradition with my youngest. 5 stars.

Illustrations: Beautifully illustrated! And the illustrations reveal their own story as you see parts of a giant human face as the island, water and woods. 5 stars.

Reviewer Valerie Harmon: How did you come up with the idea of a beach/human head?
Author Scott Harpole: My mom told me stories about a racecar, while she put me to sleep, and she told the story on my head as she told it.

You can find the whole background story here

VH: How did you connect with your illustrator?SH: I struggled mightily to find an illustrator. I played around with E-Lance and other web based listings of illustrators, but I knew that I had to have someone amazingly different. One day I just typed in my city name, Terre Haute, and the word Illustrator into Google. A lady's name popped up, without a phone number of course! I traced her down and called her. She has since moved away but I honestly believe that her months of hard work are worth an award. I've actually submitted Sleepy Beach to the Caldecott Award folks and other various award chairs just this week!

VH: Why do you write?
SH: I don't write! I tell. All the time, to random people and everyone in a buckshot blast of my voice! I recently told a lady, at a small group setting, that I'm in all the major children's movies! She really believed me and asked which ones! I told her to watch the movie Up, really closely. When the old guy is in his house and looking at his wife's photographs on the bookcase, you can see for just a flash of a second that there is a reflection of my book Sleepy Beach that is also on his bookcase and it's open to the last pages and you can just barely see my face. It's hard to see, so you have to look really close! I do that all the time, so much that finally, finally after years, my family encouraged me to get some of my crazy and wonderful stories out to the world. Voila ~ Sleepy Beach!

VH: What advice do you have for authors who'd like to write children's books?
SH: My chief advice for authors is...the barricades you are facing are mainly in your mind. For decades I believed that my stories would only be things that would be told my children, since I don't know how to...(and the list is quite long), draw pictures, make a book, publish, format, have the money, and on and on. My wife helped me see that I could just start by recording my stories and giving away audio versions. That is the next key. You have to start. You can't really steer a parked vehicle. Do what you can, with what you have, right now.

VH: What would you tell children who read your book?SH: I tell children that read my book that I am so happy that they enjoy it, and that I want them to have peaceful dreams, and that I hope Sleepy Beach makes them smile and then fall over dead asleep! I also make sure that children understand that they should not operate heavy machinery after they have read my book. Most of the time, they just seriously reassure me that they won't!

VH: Do you have any funny stories of how you got to where you are?
SH: I have so many funny stories, about how I got to where I am, and some of them are true! When I showed up at the illustrator's house after calling her and arranging a meeting (remember I just found her on the internet), I brought along one of my young sons. It turns out that it was a good idea, because she told me later that she had Mace in her pocket!

VH: What are three favorite books?
SH: Three of my favorite books are: The Bible, Streiker's Bride, and Where the Sidewalk a hundred more.

VH: What are three favorite children's books?
SH: My three favorite children's books are:

VH: Who influences your writing?
SH: My influencers are: my Italian family and the way we still tell stories to and about each other and Shel Silverstein (I cannot read his stuff and not be inspired)!

Parents can do a lot of things with this story - ask kids to find the dog, ask them to find the parts of the child's face, listen to the peaceful piano music that I wrote and played (it's on the CD that comes with the book), and have them point out the stars and the moon on several pages.  

Want more of author Scott Harpole? Check out more of his stories here, He also has a special offer: I have a few paperback books of Sleepy Beach left in this shipment, so for a limited time I'm offering signed and personalized copies of Sleepy Beach with a CD for $10 (plus shipping). Just send your order and info to Scott Harpole at:  scott (at) mydadsbedtimestories (dot) com.

~Reviewed by Valerie Harmon


  1. Great review Valerie. I really want to get one of his books. I sent an inquiry to the email you listed. Hope it works.

    1. Hello Pappo Darwin,
      I just received my copy from Harpole last night. I sure enjoy the book!
      Best wishes,